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Nikko-Citi Securities increased its target share price on Kirin Brewery (KNBWY) to 1,780 yen from 1,480 yen while maintaining a "buy" rating. Although I haven't been able to find any comments from Nikko-Citi, it's safe to say that Kirin is gaining ground on rival Asahi Breweries.

From what I understand, Kirin has a broader product selection and is doing well in attracting both price conscious drinkers and those willing to pay extra for premium beer. Beer sales are expected to be strong in Japan (despite a trend towards declining popularity in favor of wine), especially during the first half of the year given higher consumer spending, the Winter Olympics in which Japanese figure skater Shizuka Arakawa won gold, Japan winning the World Baseball Classic, and the upcoming World Cup Soccer tournament. Lastly, it is also hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season now, meaning a lot of beer is being consumed as Japanese gather to sit under the cherry blossoms and welcome in spring.

Kirin Brewery's ordinary shares (Tokyo: 2503) closed .82% higher at 1,601 yen. The news of the target price increase seems to have come in after market. Kirin's ADRs closed yesterday down 1.39% at $13.45. A 1,780 yen target converted at Y118/US$1 equals approximately $15.10. The USD value should increase as the yen is expected to strengthen in the second half of the year.

KNBWY 1-yr chart:

Source: Nikko-Citi Securities Boosts Kirin Brewery's Target Share Price (KNBWY)